Florida Opioid Crisis

Florida Opioid Crisis

The Florida opioid crisis is a growing healthcare concern. Fueled in part by the excessive physician prescribing of prescription narcotics and consequent patient overuse of opiates, a clear solution seems lacking. There has been early research showing a beneficial effect of cannabis on pain and the potential of its use as a replacement for opiate therapy. More studies are necessary and sure to come with rising social acceptance and availability of cannabis. KindHealth medical cannabis doctors will evaluate you for your medical marijuana qualifying condition and work with you to see if your chronic pain is responsive to the use of marijuana.

Florida Opioid Deaths

Drug-related Deaths per 100,000 (2017)

            Florida - 24.2% National - 21.6%

America at War on Opioids and Prescription Narcotics

America has been waging an insidious war on a narcotic epidemic for years now. Here in Florida, "Opioids were the direct cause of death of 2,538 Floridians and contributed to an additional 1,358 deaths in 2015, the last year data is available."1 Florida's Gov. Rick Scott officially declared the epidemic a public health emergency in May, 2017 giving public health officials greater ability to respond to the crisis with more resources for prevention, treatment and recovery services. President Trump has since declared the crisis a national emergency. Of note, Florida saw a statistically significant drug overdose death rate increase from 2016 to 2017 of 5.9%.2

Drug overdose deaths in the United States continue to increase in 2015. Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid.3 Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled.4 From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

We now know that overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled,3 yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.5,6 Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.7

-Source: The Centers for Disease Control8:
  1. Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016.
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html
  3. CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
  4. Chang H, Daubresse M, Kruszewski S, et al. Prevalence and treatment of pain in emergency departments in the United States, 2000 – 2010. Amer J of Emergency Med 2014; 32(5): 421-31.
  5. Daubresse M, Chang H, Yu Y, Viswanathan S, et al. Ambulatory diagnosis and treatment of nonmalignant pain in the United States, 2000 – 2010.  Medical Care 2013; 51(10): 870-878.
  6. CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov
  7. By Michael Auslen, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau. May 03, 2017
  8. CDC Understanding the Epidemic